Wrestling Observer Flashback–02.11.91

Previously in the Flashback… http://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2016/11/27/wrestling-observer-flashback-02-04-91/

As a reminder to anyone who hasn’t subscribed, the Observer site is currently doing a month of full access for $3.99 this weekend for Black Friday, so you can follow along with the newsletters and listen to the radio shows where Brian steals all the newsbites for the News Updates from.  http://www.f4wonline.com/news/f4wonlinecom-sale-one-full-month-unlimited-access-only-399-202426


So I’ve got some good news and some bad news for anyone having trouble finding good tickets to Wrestlemania VII at the LA Coliseum.  The good news is that you’ll be sitting a lot closer to the ring now!  The bad news…?

– In the top story, Wrestlemania has now been moved to the 15,000 seat LA Sports Arena, in a decision that was made sometime between 01/23 and 01/25.  The Coliseum owners quietly pulled the plug on ticket sales a couple of weeks ago, and “current” plan is to just ignore the change and continue advertising the show as coming from “Los Angeles” on TV and then hope that no one notices.  Although Dave had been hearing that 20-25,000 tickets had been sold, sources closer to the box office suggest that 12,000 paid was a more realistic number.  However, apparently the change had NOTHING to do with ticket sales, because the big push wasn’t even going to happen until after the match was announced on the Main Event.  (The truth would of course quickly come out on THAT one.) 

– On the bright side, Dave notes, those people who had purchased $10 tickets for 100 miles away from the ring will be sitting a whole lot closer now.

– Dave watched the Main Event on Friday, and offers apologies to Hulk Hogan because it’s apparent that the military tour wasn’t just a vehicle for getting him over, and appeared to be a sincere attempt to cheer up the troops and their families. Hey, Dave notes, Hogan is a very nice man, and if this tour happens to sell some extra tickets to see him beat Saddam’s friend Slaughter, then that’s just a burden the WWF will have to learn to live with.

– To the review of the Main Event!  First note, as Slaughter has drastically toned down the Iraqi rhetoric, never mentioning Saddam or waving the Iraq flag on the show.

1.  Hulk Hogan & Tugbloat beat Quake & Bravo in 8:56.  Largely pathetic.  *

2. Jim Duggan beat WWF champion Sgt. Slaughter by DQ in 6:50.  Sarge took three amazing bumps, and Duggan has been worse.  Sarge used a chair for the DQ, but Hogan made the save and Sarge ran away.  *1/2

3.  The LOD beat the Orient Express in 5:11.  Paul Diamond has been eating his vitamins (wink wink) but this was a good squash.  ***1/4

Quite the show there.

Onto the Clash of Champions, which was looking to be the best show on paper in years.  So…that didn’t work out.

First problem is that Dusty is now ALL OVER the show as booker, doing color commentary that played up the jingoistic angle for no particular reason and only served to make home viewers mad, resulting in dozens of calls to the switchboard complaining about it during the show.  Also, Dave thinks that maybe promoting “Wrestle WAR: Duel in the Desert, featuring WARGAMES” might not have been the best idea from a good taste standpoint.

1.  Sting & Lex Luger beat Doom by DQ in 10:29.  Dusty said that Teddy Long was “out buying condos”, when in fact he’s suspended for 30 days on a drug violation.  Fast-paced match, but it appeared to lack a ring general to keep it together.  Danny Spivey attacked Luger during the match, but it didn’t figure into the finish.  They also teased the Doom split when Reed accidentally hit Simmons, and then just tossed Sting over the top for the lame DQ.  **3/4

2.  Tom Zenk pinned Bobby Eaton with a backslide in 7:07.  They played a tape of the crowd chanting “Bobby, Bobby” to make him seem incredibly over as a babyface.  Basic good match, with Zenk wearing the TV title and defending it here, which Dave notes completely exposes the business to everyone in Perry, GA.  ***

3.  The Freebirds beat Tommy Rich & Allen Iron Eagle in 5:53.  Eagle forget to sell a punch, and Hayes stiffed the crap out of him afterwards.  (Ha, I remember that.)  Eagle got pinned with a double DDT.  *

4.  Sid Vicious pinned Joey Maggs with the powerbomb in 1:12.  Before the match, Paul E. Dangerously did an interview and Dusty spent the whole thing trying to sabotage it.

5.  Terry Taylor pinned Ricky Morton in 11:53 after a missed dropkick.  In a classic BECAUSE WCW move, Gary Capetta announced Taylor as the “Computerized Man of the 1990s” BEFORE he turned at the end of the match!  Dave thinks he’ll be better in the role than Mike Rotunda because he’s a better interview and better wrestler anyway.  (I’d call it a push.)  ***

6.  Ranger Ross pinned El Cubano in 3:13.  No heat at all, and Ross was supposed to rappel from the ceiling of CNN Center in the original plan, but when they moved the show to Gainesville, he was forced to wrestle.  1/2*

7.  Barry Windham & Arn Anderson beat the Youngbloods in 7:31 with Barry’s superplex on Chris.  ***1/4

8.  Brian Pillman squashed Buddy Lee Parker in 3:18.  *3/4

9.  Missy Hyatt beat Paul E. in an arm-wrestling match.  You could see the twist coming a mile away, but it was still hilarious.  However, the female viewers HATED the segment and called in to complain about it.  (Is Georgia so dull that people just sit around calling into TBS to complain about wrestling shows?)

10.  Ric Flair & Scott Steiner went to a TV time limit draw in 24:35.  Match went too long and Scott didn’t know how to pace himself, especially with everyone in the world expecting a ****+ classic.  Final few minutes were really disappointing, but Dave thought it was mostly “kind of good”.  **3/4

The rating was a HUGE disappointment, as it ended up the second lowest rating for the show.  Basically the Taylor-Morton match was flaming ratings death, losing nearly a million viewers and the show never recovered.

– Randy Savage broke his thumb right after the super-hot Warrior angle, and needed surgery and pins in his hand to fix it.  Apparently Savage is planning on legitimately retiring after Wrestlemania, and this only adds fuel to that fire.

– Pat Tanaka blew out his knee, so Bob Bradley has been replacing him in the Orient Express as some sort of masked Oriental.  And then Bradley hurt HIS ankle, so now we’re getting LOD v. Kato & Brooklyn Brawler on house shows.

– The World Bodybuilding Federation did a press conference to announce their roster, and the first show will take place on 6/15 in Atlantic City.  Current plan is quarterly contests on PPV.  Basically all of the names taken by Vince are second-tier midcarders in the Weider organization, and mean nothing to casual fans.  (You see that sentence I just typed there?  PAGE AND A HALF of text in the original issue.  YOU’RE WELCOME.  Jesus, Dave and the bodybuilding shit…) 

– In Japan, SWS continues to alienate Japanese wrestling fans by booking WARLORD v. Tenryu as the main event of a show on 2/7.

– Latest word on Maeda is that he’s got a new promotion in March, but Takada won’t come with him, and Funaki will end up with SWS.  This should help SWS tremendously, because they’re been in freefall as far as public opinion goes and Funaki could be the next big Japanese superstar.  (Well, that didn’t happen.) 

– In Portland, Scotty the Body and Art Barr worked a flea market show on 2/3, doing a “public workout” with the tag champions because Barr isn’t actually allowed to wrestle in the state at this point.  Neither guy is working for PNW, but they happened to be in the area and did the show anyway.

– There’s a new tag team in Memphis called the Eliminators.  (Not the more famous ones, who came around about two years later.  Just thought it was interesting.) 

– Yet another set of negotiations between Joe Pedicino and Max Andrews over syndication rights fell through, so nothing is happening with the GWF, as usual.

– Dallas dropped down to 350 people this week, with a main event that saw Jeff Jarrett win a Rumble Royal.  Please do not be confused with the trademarked WWF event of a very similar name, because they are TOTALLY DIFFERENT things.

– Remember Bob Armstrong’s son Brian, who wrestled one match as “Brian Armstrong” a few months back?  Turns out he’s a marine now and has been deployed to Kuwait.

– Verne Gagne might be getting a HUGE influx of cash from Winnipeg, as it turns out that the Manitoba athletic commission had been charging a 3% tax all these years on AWA shows, when legally they were only allowed to charge 1%.  So they might have to cut a cheque for $100,000 soon.  (Not that it would have saved the company anyway.) 

– Hey, WCW has come to their senses and will be airing the New Japan Supershow as a PPV on 3/21 for $10, aimed at “hardcore fans”.  (No kidding.  And yet the Network still won’t put it up on the service!) 

– Al Greene of the Master Blasters has been fired.  (Hopefully the tall guy can find a career as a singles wrestler.) 

– The WWF mysteriously pulled out of the Meadowlands, so WCW suddenly has a bunch of dates booked in 1991 with no competition.  Dave thinks there’s something funny going on with this one.

– The Southern Boys were supposed to become the Young Guns, but the movie has the trademark for that name, so they’re the Young Pistols instead.  (Was that REALLY the best they could come up with?  Someone grabbing a crossword dictionary and finding another word for “gun”?) 

– There was rumors that the Weiders were going to distribute a WCW magazine as revenge on Vince for the WBF, but it turned out to be false and actually it’ll be London Publishing (the parent company of the Apter mags) who does the WCW mag instead.

– At the TV tapings on 2/4, a “fan” ran in from the crowd to save Tommy Rich from a beatdown, and it turned out to be Matt Borne, who will be dubbed “Big Josh”.  (Who’s the clown who came up with that gimmick?) 

– TBS will get more penetration into Canada in 1991.  (Yeah baby!  In fact as of the very next Clash I was able to subscribe in Edmonton and pretty much watched WCW Saturday Night every week for the next 5 or 6 years following, until I moved out and couldn’t afford it on my “hot dog and ichiban noodle” income.  Now, as I’ve said before, I eat hot dogs and noodles because I WANT to.  But FANCY ones, sometimes with real Japanese text on the package!) 

– At the TV tapings in Macon for the WWF, THE MOUNTIE debuted and he’s using a cattle prod gimmick.

– Brother Love was written out of the storylines after a segment where he sold the Undertaker’s contract to Percy Pringle, who will now be called “Paul Bearer”.  Did you know that Pringle actually used to be a mortician?

– Haku & Barbarian are being repackaged into a tag team.  (“Hate to meet them in a dark alley” notes Dave.)

– John Nord debuted as THE VIKING.  (Anyone else remember that?  I dunno if it made TV, but PWI Weekly was all over it.) 

– Titan is still looking for a new Indian, as they gave Charlie Norris a tryout as “Johnny Gray Feather”.  (Speaking as someone who has spent a lot of time in North Battleford, Saskatchewan over the years, I nearly choked on my drink at that one.  It sounds like someone who would be drunk at the local bar on a Thursday night yelling at the AC/DC cover band to play more “Shoot to Thrill”)  Sadly, the tryout didn’t take because they’re already planning on giving Steve Gator Wolf a tryout for the same role.

– Turns out that the Main Event was pre-empted in Los Angeles due to news coverage of a plane crash, which would have cost them THOUSANDS of tickets if they had still been trying to run the LA Coliseum.

– At a house show in Oakland, the Orient Express was played by Paul Diamond and Louie Spicoli under masks.  (Who in their right mind could buy LOUIE SPICOLI as Asian?) 

– The WWF has heat with the Cap Center over the most recent house show, as the building asked for no Adnan and no Iraqi flags.  They pulled the flags, but Adnan wrestled Jim Duggan in what was said to be the worst match in pro wrestling history.  (You’ve gotta draw the line for artistic expression SOMEWHERE. Although it’s ironic as always that the mantra is “Our troops are fighting for your freedom of speech” while people are actively trying to censor that freedom, no matter how stupid the speech might be.  And yes, I realize that it’s freedom from government censorship, not private, but it’s still ironic, DAMMIT.  Also, did you know that in Canada you can buy toilet paper that has the US Constitution printed on it?) 

(Just kidding, it’s the Bill of Rights.)

(Just kidding, toilet paper with ink on it is incredibly bad for you and not very absorbent.  We just burn replicas in the winter to keep warm instead.)

– And finally, more heat for the WWF, as Warrior did a job for Savage in a cage match that ended with Warrior getting distracted while beating the stuffings out of Sherri and ripping her clothes off until she was in her bra and panties.  Apparently parents at the show had the CRAZY idea that this wasn’t something they wanted their kids to see, and walked out on the show during the match.  Later in the issue, Dave Scherer wrote in with a passionate letter on that very subject, but you’ll have to subscribe to the PWInsider premium section to find out what his opinion was, sorry.